The boom in the price of bitcoin has been accompanied by greater interest from British investors, who are more likely than ever to hold it, the UK market regulator (FCA) said on Thursday.
The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) estimates in a study that 2.3 million British adults have cryptocurrency, 400,000 more than a year earlier. Above all, while half of these holders saw them as “a bet” a year ago, they are now only a third to perceive them as such. The price of bitcoin took off at the end of 2019 to exceed $ 20,000 in December 2020, before peaking at nearly $ 65,000 in mid-April.
Among the factors explaining this increase, the increasingly developed interest of American institutional investors, such as the big banks of Wall Street or the manufacturer of electric vehicles Tesla. Since then, the market has plummeted, and bitcoin is trading for around $ 40,000, not least due to regulators’ growing interest in these assets.
“It is important that consumers understand that these products are largely unregulated and that if something goes wrong they are going to have a hard time turning to the authorities. You have to be prepared to lose all your money,” warns Sheldon Mills, an FCA official, in a statement.
Laith Khalaf, the financial analyst at AJ Bell, withholds another detail from the study: “The fact that 14% of crypto buyers borrowed to be able to buy is terrifying. The extreme volatility in the market and the uncertain long-term outlook means that the sums invested may disappear, “he warns.